Modern Beekeeping In Dophuchen Yields Much Sought-After Bhutanese Honey, Royal Jelly And More

Other by-products such as wax, royal jelly, pollen and propolis are also in healthy demand in the market.

A beekeeper tending to his beehive. (Source: ecornell)

 

By Rajesh Rai | Kuensel

For the people of Dophuchen (Dorokha) in Samtse, the return of a native who has worked in a beekeeping cooperative in Bumthang was the source of inspiration for them to take up modern beekeeping.

The residents, who practiced traditional beekeeping, have now become members of a beekeeping group and have started practising modern methods.

Romnath Acharja, 34 of Maneygaon village is the man who has introduced modern beekeeping to the locality. He returned home in 2012 to shoulder family responsibilities after his brother has passed away.

By then, he already had six years of working experience at the beekeepers’ cooperative in Bumthang and four years of beekeeping practice on his own.

“It was the only skill I had when I returned home,” he said. “So I started on a trial.”

Romnath Acharja said that he actually only started to look for support in the third year of the trial.

“From the Dorokha livestock office to the Agriculture Research Development Centre in Jakar, I sought help.

Support from the Queen’s Project for the Dophuchen Beekeeping Group

“The Queen’s Project came to support us and we formed the Dophuchen Beekeeping Group (DBG).”

It has been two years since the farmers have been getting support from the project.

From training to subsidies and motivations, the Queen’s Project has also funded the new beekeeping centre and its equipment. About 100 new hives would also be provided soon.

Romnath Acharja, DBG’s chairman said that farmers came to observe his beehives and were eager to learn.

“This encouraged me to take the initiative to a new level and that is how I started to look for support,” he said.

Beekeeping requires little land but can potentially yield good income

He said that beekeeping is a full-fledged activity now. “Beekeeping is the only farming activity where small amounts of land could be used effectively to earn a good income.”

About half an hour’s walk from the DBG centre, Krishna Bahadur Rai, 36 has two modern hives. As a member of the group, he has been training for the past year.

He said that his family does not own much land, thus beekeeping is the best way to make a livelihood.

Krishna Bahadur Rai, the secretary of DBG and Romanth Acharja train other interested farmers.

Under the three gewogs of Dophuchen, Dorokha gewog has 37 farmers trained in beekeeping while Denchukha has 32 and Dumtey has 27 farmers. The members have about 200 modern hives in total.

In the last one year, Krishna Bahadur Rai has supplied about 20kg of natural honey to the group. The DBG members say that the Queen’s Project has boosted their confidence and inspired them to take beekeeping to new heights.

Strong demand for Bhutanese honey

The project also buys all the honey from DBG. It gives subsidies to members such as the modern hive box, which costs around Nu 2,800 but is provided at a subsidised rate of Nu 500.

The group generated 470kg of natural honey in 2017. About 320kg were supplied to the project, while the rest were sold in the local market. The farmers are paid Nu 500 a kg by the group. The group buys the honey at any time of the year so that farmers could have cash whenever they required.

Another member, Chemnath Timsina said that the market demand for honey is huge but the group is still not producing enough. “I want to keep at least 300 modern hives,” he said.

Meanwhile, honey is harvested thrice in a year, according to the DBG members. It is harvested from January-February, June to July and from September-October.

In the first phase of the harvest time in January-February this year, the group collected 62kg of honey. The DBG members said that they have collected about 72kg of honey in the current phase, adding that the collection is set to continue until the end of July.

Amazing by-products of honey which are much sought after in the market

Romnath Acharja said that the group can potentially extract at least 1,000kg of honey this year. Other by-products such as wax, royal jelly, pollen and propolis are also in healthy demand in the market.

The DBG chairman said that he is trying to market all these products so that farmers can stand to enjoy more benefits.

“Farmers are already earning through the sale of honey wax, which is used to construct artificial comb for the bees,” he said.

 “At times we receive calls from people of sightings of swarms,” Romnath Acharja said. “Ants and hornets are also a problem, but they can be managed.”

The vegetation in Dophuchen is favourable and there is no need to feed the bees, Romnath Acharja said.

DBG has also started to train members in queen breeding. This method of breeding domesticates the bees and this means easy management.

“We can choose the larvae from the best performing hives and convert them to queen bees,” Romnath Acharja said, adding that this would help the new hives perform better.

Challenges facing modern beekeeping in Dophuchen

However, as beekeeping is not new in Dophuchen, the transition to modern beekeeping remains a challenge, according to the chairman.

“There are countless traditional beekeepers,” he said, adding that both members and non-members still follow the traditional method.

“My aim is to do away with the traditional method completely.”

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.

 


Related Posts

Demand for Bhutanese Honey Encourages Farmers To Take Up...

Bhutan’s organic honey is highly sought after for its fine quality.

Apr 16, 2018 00:31

Constructive Steps Need To Be Taken For Bhutan To Become 100%...

Various measures need to be taken for Bhutan to become 100% organic by 2020.

Jun 06, 2018 15:26

Nine Bhutanese Nature-Based Products Launched

The products include anti-wrinkle cream, balm, liniment oil, massage oil, perfume, soaps, and hand sanitisers developed...

Apr 07, 2018 16:25

Eastern Farmers Cashing In On Watermelon Cultivation

Farmers said that growing watermelons is easier than cultivating other cash crops like chillies and potatoes, since...

Jan 28, 2018 16:34

Orange Trees Climb Higher in Bhutan with Climate Change

“Since the upper altitude regions are bearing more oranges than lower altitude regions, we believe it’s due to the...

Mar 25, 2018 21:13

Growing Black Sesame in Nichula

“The weather and soil are suitable for this crop,” the manager said, adding that the Farm Machinery Centre (FMC) in...

Feb 02, 2018 07:17

Latest

News

Drukair Orders New Aircraft That's Equipped With Latest Visual Technology

The new ClearVision technology on the aircraft allows pilots to get a clear picture of the runway while landing the aircraft.

Jul 19, 2018 12:47

After 9 Years, The Amochhu Bridge In Bhutan Finally Opened On 14 July 2018

The driving distance between Phuentsholing and Samtse is now reduced to 57km from 81.2km

Jul 18, 2018 14:57

Features

Bhutan's climb to medicines safety

Pharmacovigilance is the science and activities relating to the detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of adverse drug...

Jul 17, 2018 14:31

11th Golden Youth Award Camp Aims To Inspire Bhutanese Youth To Excel Holistically

The camp’s theme ‘Celebrating Unity for Excellence’, is a pledge by the youth to be advocators and agents of peace, harmony and...

Jul 12, 2018 16:14

Sports

Future Of Bhutan’s Women Football Depends On The Development Of Local Coaches

The football coach of the national women’s team, Sung Jea Lee said that there is a need to train local coaches.

Jul 08, 2018 18:16

Bhutan’s Two Young Representatives Shared Their Unforgettable Experiences At The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

Bhutan was represented by two students, Rigzin Tenzin, 12, from Gelephu and Kinley Deki Yangzom, 12, from Lobesa Lower Secondary School,...

Jun 30, 2018 14:06

Business

Cottage And Small Industry Which Saw 20% Growth Is A Pillar Of Bhutan’s Industry Sector

To date, the CSIs constitute more than 90 percent of Bhutan’s industry sector.

Jul 19, 2018 13:46

Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services Has Generated Profits And Served More Than 500 Tourists And Locals Since 2016

The RBHS was launched with the primary objective of providing services during medical emergencies and natural disasters and also for tourism...

Jul 14, 2018 14:23

Travel

Heading To Haa, Bhutan For The Summer Festival? Here Are Some Culinary Delights You Must Not Miss!

Savour the most delectable cuisine from the province of Haa in Bhutan.

Jul 13, 2018 14:54

Rare Masked Dances - One Of The Unique Features Of The Kholong Tshechu (Brawl Festival) In Bhutan

“Other dances like the Pha-dong chham, Sangling Ngachham, and Terchham among others are not performed in any part of the country,” said...

Jul 03, 2018 14:44

Lifestyle

Suja – Bhutanese Butter Tea Infused With Happiness To Kickstart Your Day

Traditionally, Suja is made from tea leaves, water, salt and yak butter.

Jul 17, 2018 17:19

Bhutan Film Festival Held In Sikkim To Commemorate 50 Years Of Bhutan-India Friendship Ended With Colourful Traditional Dances

Bhutanese celebrities and Sikkim’s local artists performed various traditional and cultural performances at the festival.

Jul 15, 2018 14:32

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!